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Email Subscribers plugin no longer send emails immediately – Why and what’s next?

“Send immediately” option removed

We started getting anxious (and angry) support requests about emails not going out after upgrading quickly after 4.0 release. A lot of people were frustrated that we removed the option to send new post notifications and newsletter campaigns as soon as you publish.

So why did we make such a stupid change?

If you’re upset because of this, I can understand. Honestly, we didn’t anticipate such a big pushback, but we had three solid reasons to make this change.

1. Sending immediately can cause your website to hang

If you worked with a small list of subscribers, it’s ok to send immediately. But otherwise, it can cause significant delays in response due to all the heavy lifting of preparing and sending emails. A lot of support requests in the past were regarding this issue. And hence this was a major reason to remove the ‘send immediately’ option.

2. Timeouts and shared hosting problems

Most shared hosting servers have strict limitations on how long a PHP script can run, the amount of memory available to it and the level of emails you can send in an hour. Sending emails immediately caused a surge in resource needs and broke things for a lot of people on shared hosting.

3. Corrections after publishing not possible

If you are like me, you usually make a few corrections even after publishing a post – some formatting, some typos, some grammar corrections we notice after sending the email. But when we send notification emails immediately on publish, we lose this opportunity. If you made a mistake, it goes to everybody on your list. It can make people bounce. That’s not good at all!

So how does Email Subscribers send emails now?

As soon as you publish a post or newsletter campaign, we “queue” it up and process it in batches at regular intervals. We try to respect the hourly email sending limit as well as distribute resource requirement on the server.

The queue is processed every fifteen minutes. So there may be a few minutes gap between you publishing a post and emails starting to go out. If you delete the queued campaign in this gap, emails won’t be sent.

This approach is a lot more reliable. As a matter of fact, this option existed in Email Subscribers for a long time and most people used it.

What’s this Cron thing then?

Yeah – that’s a bummer. Cron is a technical term and it refers to the “scheduler” your server (or WordPress) runs internally to execute certain tasks at defined intervals.

WordPress calls it WP Cron – which is ON by default and handles a lot of background work. Most servers allow setting up a “Cronjob” using their control panels like cPanel or Plesk.

We used this cron feature earlier too, and have documentation about how to set it up on your server.

Do I have to set up a cron for emails to go? Will I need a developer to do it?

No for both questions.

WordPress has its own cron system working automatically unless you (or your hosting company) specifically disabled it.

The caveat is that this ‘scheduler‘ can be triggered only if someone visits your site. So if you have no traffic for two hours, the cron won’t be triggered. So yes, it’s not 100% reliable but works for almost everyone.

One alternative is to setup cron on your own server, this is straightforward and we’ve documented cPanel setup here. Most hosting companies have documentation available for this.

Another option is to take one of our paid plans. When you do, we take care of the whole cron business so you don’t have to worry about it.

Can I use an SMTP plugin like Postman? Or plugins for Amazon SES, Sendgrid, SparkPost, Postmark, MailGun etc?

Yes certainly. We did make a mistake in the initial 4.0 release that caused this to break for some plugins, but that’s fixed now. So you can use a third party email sending service along with Email Subscribers for higher reliability.

In addition to this, we are planning deeper integration with some of these services for the paid plans. The new integration will allow direct batch sending and will result in super quick deliveries.

But I still want to send emails immediately… What if I can’t get cron to work…

We hear ya… We’ve added an option to “manually” dispatch queued emails in the plugin. Click a button and it will send one batch of emails.

So if you wanted to, publish a post, then go to “Reports
and click “Send Queued Emails Now“. Do that until all emails are sent.
Do keep in mind your server and email sending limits though.

You can use this option even if you can’t get the cron to work for some reason.

And why the heck did we change the entire interface? Why change something that’s working?

This is another big complaint from long-time users.

We explained terminology changes long before we made the release. But we understand many of you felt lost in the new version.

We have already made some corrections and want to continue improving your experience as a user. Our vision is to give you the best email marketing solution.

Oh no.. (or oh yes!) – we’ve started working on Email Subscribers 5.0…

4.0 is a complete rewrite of the plugin. 5.0 will be another major revision.

I will tell you more about it as we go along, but we will have a better development/release process.

We want you to participate in the “early access” program.
So do join the Facebook group.

Something still unanswered?

If you still have any questions about the email sending process, leave a comment and we will address that at the earliest.

Thank you for being awesome!

9 thoughts on “Email Subscribers plugin no longer send emails immediately – Why and what’s next?

  1. Hello,
    Two questions:

    1. Would you update to ES 4.0.9 or just wait for the announced ES 5 !!?

    I really would love for those New Blogpost Notifications emails to be sent automatically to my subscribers (I have less than 20!) as soon as I publish a New Blogpost.

    2. Also: that “WP CRON thing” remains mysterious and complicated for me: my issue is that I do not get many many visitors (unless they know there is a new Blogpost) so the Cron may not be triggered?!

    Let me know your advise on both questions…

    Many thanks once again for your very kind and expert advice!


    1. Hi Luca,

      1. Would you update to ES 4.0.9 or just wait for the announced ES 5 !!?

      ES 5 is still in early stage. So, don’t wait for ES 5 for now. We already released ES 4.0.9. So, upgrade it.

      2. Also: that “WP CRON thing” remains mysterious and complicated for me: my issue is that I do not get many many visitors (unless they know there is a new Blogpost) so the Cron may not be triggered?!

      Yes, I can understand that. It won’t work reliably if you are not getting many visitors. So, other option is to set Cron on the server. If you want to avoid all such hassle to setup cron on your server, go with the PRO.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Thank you for your kind advice .
        And fortunately I am not an IT expert .
        So I do not know how to set up CRON on my server .
        If I do not manage to set up CRON on my server and I decide to upgrade to the latest ES 4.0.9, will my new blog post notifications emails be sent to my 19 subscribers in any case in the next maximum 15 minutes ?
        Many thanks for kindly clarifying!

        1. Hi Luca,

          Yes…If WP Cron is enable (by default it’s enable), your emails will start sending in every 15 minutes.

          Hope that helps.

  2. Believe in you guys. You rock.

    I think the best choice is leave sending email to other partners. Deep integration with Sendgrid and postmark is expected. Just my 2 cents. Cheers

  3. No emails found in queue nor they are sent !!!!

    What to do?

    1. Hi,

      To allow us to investigate on your site, install & activate the free WordPress plugin – Temporary Login Without Password, and give us admin access to your site via the temporary link generated. Once we’ll get the admin access, we’ll check your site & will try to resolve the issue.

      Do not share temporary login link publicly. Instead, email us at hello[at]icegram[dot]com.

      Keep expiry of temporary login link for one week. Send the created login link as a reply to this email.

  4. I flipped back to the previous version as I like to write my posts in WordPress and then in the past your program sent them to everyone on my list. But the plugin keeps automatically updating and then nobody gets my posts. Such a disappointment and waste of a good plugin. Unfortunately I will now have to look elsewhere.

    1. Hi,

      We can understand how frustrating it is.

      But, now we have fixed all notable issues. So, it should work without any issue.

      Please check

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